What The Tech? Gadgets for driving - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

What The Tech? Gadgets for driving

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As more states and cities take on the major issue of distracted driving when it comes to cellphones, tech companies are doing their best to find solutions. Look, no one is going to leave their cellphone at home. Practically every driver getting behind the wheel has a smartphone within arms reach. Probably in their lap.  

The most important part of using a phone hands-free is a car mount. Most of the mounts will hold a phone with collapsing arms, clips or magnets. I prefer one from Griffin that attaches to the dash or window with a suction cup. It holds most phones up to the size of an iPhone plus, even while the phone is in a case.

Once the phone is secured you want to find something that allows the driver to communicate with the phone for calls.  
 
The Voyager 5200 bluetooth headset from Plantronics is much more comfortable than I remember from my use of bluetooth over-the-ear headsets in years past. The Voyager is lightweight and didn't leave me with pain or even discomfort after wearing it for a 4 hour drive. Sound quality is very good as the Voyager manages to eliminate background and wind noise. A microphone rotates so it can be put away when you're not talking. My favorite feature is the ability to find out who's calling and to answer or ignore without touching or even looking at the phone. When a call comes in the Voyager identifies the caller and asks if you want to answer it or ignore it.  

I've questioned everyone I've had a conversation with about the quality of sound and no one said they even knew I was talking to them over bluetooth. I'm impressed with the Plantronics device. It charges over USB but there's also a portable charger (sold separately) that protects the headset while charging it. The portable charger will charge the headset up to 2 times before needing a charge itself. 

The Voyager 5200 headset from Plantronics is $100.  

If you don't want to wear a headset Jabra makes a couple of nice bluetooth speakers that clip to a sunvisor.  

The Jabra Drive is just under $50. It has noise cancellation and calls can be answered with a tap of a button. You can also use it with Siri and OK Google to go hands free. I found the sound quality to be okay, not great.

Jabra's Freeway is a more advanced version with HD audio, dual microphones, 3 speakers to listen to music from your phone and an FM transmitter that'll play music and your calls through the car's speakers. People I've spoken to have given mixed responses to the 'how's it sound?' question.

I particularly like the sound quality playing music through my phone. It isn't as great as going through all 4 or 5 car speakers but it is remarkably good. If you're in a location with some free space on your radio dial, the FM transmitter works very well. The Jabra Freeway is highly recommended for anyone who spends a lot of time in their vehicle but doesn't want to use a headset. It's 100 dollars. 

If you have an older car that has a cassette player you can purchase an adapter that connects to your phone's headphone jack. These are surprisingly effective if you have few choices and limited cash. I picked up a generic version for $1 at a dollar store. I've been pleasantly surprised at the sound quality going from my phone through the adapter and to the speakers.  

All of these hands-free gadgets will work with Siri and OK Google so they truly will give you no reason to pick up your phone while driving. 

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